Central Intelligence, 2001
Installation, 3D Vrml Projection, C-Prints, Color Codes
Im Zeichen der Stadt, Kunstmuseum Bonn, Germany, curated by Dieter Ronte
With Guven Incilioglu (xurban_collective)
A project on the post 9/11 collective psyche.
The Agency of Central Intelligence
Since the beginning, xurban.net transforms the data flow between its two terminal points, New York and Istanbul, and feeds it back to the de-centralized circulation of the world wide web, while tackling the problems of transferring these expressions to the physical exhibition space. However, even without September 11, we are well aware that the phantasmagoria of globalization is not exactly compatible with the global optimism and utopias offered by the new technologies of information. While we were excavating the old city (Istanbul) as the field of the catastrophe, we encountered New York. And the irony once more reminded us that the ‘Globalization’ itself was reciprocal and that no place on earth was safe. In any case, did not the plane that hit the tower turn the spectacle around and show that life imitated art? Before falling into the historicist trap to claim that history repeats itself and civilizations clash, one has to pinpoint the return to reality. In this part of the world, going eastwards, the realism never failed us: the collective unconscious tuned for the cyclical catastrophes of the man-made kind was already waiting for the redemption in its own Messianic time. And as we went further East, we found ourselves once more, in the West.
Within the realm of recent history, “Central Intelligence” , the new project that xurban.net realized for Kunstmuseum Bonn, searches for ways to break away from the “reality effect” to return to the real. In this new context, one has to side with a kind of ‘realism’ concerning the work of art, meanwhile admitting of the sphere of barbarism in which the simulation is reversed, the simulators, war games, and special effects turned back to the original self among the thunder of falling bombs, massacres, and cries of war coming from the East and the West. The megalomania either places itself in the center of the world, or it becomes the martyr that strikes this very center.
Byzantium, claiming itself at the center of the world, has marked the ground zero with the million, while, the ‘Umbilicus Romae’ in Rome assigned the coordinates where we unavoidably expect the Big Bang. Only Walter Benjamin’s gaze makes it possible for us mortals to follow the course of the imperial might and vanity through its cycles and to seize hold of a memory as it flashes up at a moment of danger. While Benjamin, as we barely recognize him through the century-old ruins of Europe, turns his angel face towards the past, we find the first catastrophe of the new century piling up ruins at our feet in between the new and the oldest world. And stuck in between the “Good” and “Evil” we see masses hurled in front of the storm, along with every virtue of value. Central Intelligence once more connects Istanbul and New York via photographs as it lays bare the defunct centers, latitudes and longitudes, waypoints, and other locations. As we were getting ready for the fraternity of de-centralized spaces and communities of the Cyberia, we witness things turning around and the catastrophe globalized. And once more we wake up from our hasty techno-hypnosis and buckle up for the return voyage to reality: Well, where were we?